Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

3d. “ An act for the uniformity of common prayer.

It enacts, that every person having no “ lawful excuse to be absent, shall every Sunday “ resort to some place of worship of the established “church, or forfeit twelve pence.

4th.“ An act by which the chancellor may ap“point a guardian to the child of a catholic.

5th. “ An act by which no catholic schoolmas"ter can teach in a private house, without a licence “ from the ordinary of his diocese, and taking the “ oath of supremacy.

6th. “ The new rules by which no person can “ be admitted into any corporation without taking

any oath of supremacy

They also passed an act to disarin the roman-catholics ; another to banish the priests; another to prevent protestants from marrying with catholics; another to prevent catholics from being solicitors, and from being employed as game-keepers. The act for disarming the roman-catholics contains a clause, that any horse in the hands or power of any catholic, may be seized by a warrant from the magistrate, and delivered to the protestant discoverer upon payment of five pounds to its owner.

The act for the banishment of the priests was enforced rigorously. Matthew O'Conor f, “ from captain South's ac“ count, that, in 1698, the number of secular

“ It appears,

• See the report of the committee of the house of commons, appointed in 1697, to consider the several laws in force against the catholics.

+ Hist. p. 145.-We must repeat our hopes that Mr. O'Conor will complete this interesting work.

says Mr.

1

priests amounted to 495, the number of seculars “ to 892, and that the number of regulars shipped “off in that year to foreign parts was 424.—Some “ few, disabled by age and infirmities from emigra“ tion, sought shelter in caves, or implored and “ received the concealment and protection of pro“ testants, whose bumane feelings were superior “ to their prejudices." 6. There was not,” says doctor Bourke *, in his history of the Irish dominicans, “a single house of that order in Ireland, “ which was not suppressed.” Each of these enactments was a direct and

gross violation of the articles of Limerick.

An act was then passed to confirm these articles; but with such omissions and variations, as nearly evaded the articles altogether. We have cited sir Henry Parnell's opinion on the subject t: no one who compares the articles with the act, will think his opinion too severe: a more gross violation of public faith does not occur in history. It has never been defended, except on the ground of state necessity. But can state necessity, under any circumstances, justify a system of policy, by which three fourths of a large population of a large nation is to be eradicated I.

• Hib. Dom. p. 155.

+ Vol. ii. p. 433. “ It is true,” exclaimed Mr. Pitt upon Mr. Fox's India bill, “ that the measure is said to be founded on necessity. “But what is this? Is it not necessity that has been the plea “ of every illegal exercise of power ? and every exercise of “ oppression ? has not necessity been the plea of every usur“pation of every infringement of human rights ?" Bishop Tomline's Life of Pitt, vol. i. p. 142.

1. 3

Molyneux's Work, intituled, The Case of Ireland's being

bound by Acts of Parliament in England.Ir is difficult to conceive a condition of greater degradation and misery, than that, to which the catholic inhabitants of Ireland were, at this time, reduced ; but, according to Hume's * just observation, there is an ultimate point of depression, as well of exaltation, from which human affairs naturally return in a contrary progress, and beyond which they seldom pass either in their advancement or decline. An event now took place, from which the gradual but slow amelioration of the general state of Ireland may be dated : and in this, though indirectly and scantily, still, in a certain measure, the catholics participated.

For some time, the manufacture of wool in Ireland had been on the increase : it was supposed to employ 12,000 families in the metropolis, and 30,000 dispersed over the rest of the kingdom ; and the exportation of it to foreign markets was considerable. The English began to feel a jealousy at the prosperity of this branch of Irish commerce, and several acts t were passed to restrain it and to confine the exportation to England. But the trade was almost wholly in the hands of the protestants; and as soon as the English government began to check it, they began to feel the

• Hist. of England, vol. ii. p. 441.

+ 1 W. & M.'ch. 32; 4 W. & M. ch. 24; 7 & 8 W. & M. ch. 28; 9 W. & M. ch. 40.

oppressive system of English policy. This led some inquisitive spirits to question the right of England to legislate for Ireland ; among these, Mr. William Molyneux, member for the university of Dublin, a man deeply versed in the constitution of his country, honoured by the friendship of Locke, and esteemed by the good and wise men of his time as a patriot and a philanthropist, particularly distinguished himself by his celebrated pamphlet, intituled, “ The case of Ireland's being bound by Acts “ of Parliament in England." He observes, that the claim of the English parliament must be founded on purchase, conquest, or precedents. As to the first, he showed there is no pretence for it; as to the second, he contended that Ireland was not so conquered by Henry the second, as to give the parliament of England any jurisdiction over Ireland : and as to the precedents, by which this jurisdiction was attempted to be established, he professed to show, that no such precedent of an earlier date than thirty-seven years could be produced; and that the later precedents had never been acquiesced in, but always complained of.

His work was generally read, and gave such offence to the English government, that it was complained of in the house of commons, and referred to a committee: they reported it to contain many dangerous positions; and to counteract its impressions, the parliament of Ireland passed the act " for “ the further security of his majesty's person

and government,” by which they re-enacted the English statute of the third of William and Mary.

From this time, till the legislative recognition of the independence of Ireland in 1782, the question never was at rest. There was always a party, who professed to maintain the rights of Ireland against the tyranny of England, and to promote in opposition to her narrow politics, such measures as would increase the importance and happiness of Ireland. For a considerable time they joined the government in their systematic oppression of the catholics ; still, by disseminating some general principles and truths, favourable to civil and religious liberty, they prepared, though at a great distance, the public mind, to receive the strong appeals to their understandings and feelings, which in a subsequent but a distant time, were made to them by the catholics.

I. 4.

The conduct of William III. in respect to the Irish roman

catholics. “The peculiar state of Ireland,” says Mr. Macpherson “, “ seems to have been overlooked in “ the contest. The ground upon which the depri“ vation of James had been founded in England “ had not existed in Ireland. The lord lieutenant “had retained his allegiance. The government

was uniformly continued under the name of the “ prince ; from him the servants of the crown had “ derived their commissions. James himself had “ for more than seventeen months exercised the “ royal functions in Ireland. He was certainly de facto, if not de jure, king. The rebellion

* History of Great Britain.

« ForrigeFortsæt »